Microplastic Characterization and Concentration in Surface Waters of Lakes Sampaloc and Yambo in San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines

Author(s): Fatima Natuel
Email (s): fanatuel@up.edu.ph
Institution or organization of origin: University of the Philippines – Los Baños
Country: Philippines


One of today’s emerging environmental issues is the accumulation of plastics in the aquatic environment. Plastic debris comes in all shapes and sizes, which includes microplastics that are less than 5 millimeters in length. This type of plastic is controversial because of its ubiquitousness and persistence in aquatic environments. This microplastic comparative study between Lake Sampaloc and Lake Yambo was conducted to fill the research gaps regarding the occurrence of freshwater microplastics. Lake Sampaloc is an urbanized lake with many fish farming structures while Lake Yambo is a rural lake and an ecotourism site in San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines.

The microplastic analysis revealed that Lake Sampaloc (587.18 n/m3) had a significantly higher mean microplastic concentration than Lake Yambo (448.72 n/m3). Results also showed that fibrous, colored, and small-sized (<2 mm) particles were the main features detected in the surface waters of both lakes. As it is difficult to identify specific anthropogenic sources that contribute to the microplastic pollution in the lakes, a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey was randomly employed to the lakes’ residents to describe their KAP on solid waste management (SWM) and the characteristics of their wastes generated. Results significantly showed that respondents near Lake Sampaloc had lower KAP levels on SWM than the respondents near Lake Yambo. Overall, this study is not only relevant in providing baseline data on microplastics but also in communicating salient information for decision-makers of San Pablo City to strengthen environmental policies and educational strategies related to plastic pollution.

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